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A bit more than one year blogging, and a bit less than 9 years covered.

I am back from vacation, the AAR & Review of Battle for Normandy is almost out, but I wanted to mention that this blog is more than one year old now. The first article (an AAR for Tanktics) was published on the 26th of April 2021.

In one year, the blog evolved a lot. In my initial entries, I was very little interested in the “history” of the game and of the designers, and on the other hand went way too long on many of the early AARs (they are still long, of course, but I’m trying!) ; on this topic I am thankful to all the developers, famous or not, who answered my many questions about games that were a minimum of 40 years old. On a more mundane level, I started using Grammarly some 6 months ago, and for a non-native english speaker it helps a lot. There are still a few things I want to do, but I would like to consult you :

  • Would you be interested in a link to my master list? it is an ugly Google Sheet that I would need to clean-up, but tell me,
  • Would you be interested in game lists by theme / rating / other criteria? Currently, the only list is alphabetical,
  • Any other feedback you have, now is the moment.

Up til now, I have covered games spanning from 1973 (Star Trek and Trek73) to 1982 (and even slightly later, as some games turned out to have been released in early 1983). Including the BRIEFs, I have covered some 12 games first released in 1979 or earlier, around 20 in 1980, around 20 in 1981, and almost 40 in 1982. My upcoming list includes 60 games released in 1983 and 80 in 1984. Even though I believe some of those games are now lost, I expect to take one more year to cover 1983, especially since it includes some pretty complex games. But I am not worried, the games are going to be more and more interesting, and there will still be the British ZX Spectrum games to keep bringing that strong “early pioneer” vibe to my game list.

14 Comments

  1. Dan Dan

    All I want to say is that I enjoy your blog and hope you keep it up! That “1st RTS” article was especially interesting.

    • Hey thanks, I am very happy with it indeed, though yes it required a lot more research than the other articles.

  2. DDG Ahab DDG Ahab

    Happy birthday!

    As you know, I like lists. Alphabetical is overrated IMO – we have page searching for when you want to locate something by title. Chronological is interesting, but I also like the idea of a by-theme list (e.g ancient/gunpowder/WWII/near-future/space). Of course, if you’re going to have multiple lists of the same content sorted differently, then you might as well have a spreadsheet instead.

    But what I’d like most of all is a quick way of identifying the games you enjoyed playing at least a little. There don’t seem to be many that escape your ‘totally obsolete’ rating. My favorite reads have tended to be the ones that you thought were better than that, or the ones where you dug up history behind the creation.

  3. mpx mpx

    “In my initial entries, I was very little interested in the “history” of the game and of the designers” – just like CRPG Addict?

    Your blog is great, I found virtual wargaming interesting.

    I am agree with Ahab for games listed by theme, and in spreadsheet.

  4. Harland Harland

    Is it me or am I the only one who couldn’t care less about the “inside baseball” part of computer games? Who cares that Roberta Williams farted when she was writing the script of Kings Quest MCMLXVIII? I care about the *games*. How do they play?

    • MalcolmM MalcolmM

      I care most about reading how games play. But I also enjoy reading about background information on the games and the people who created them.

    • The Player of Games The Player of Games

      Same; only interested in the gameplay.

      >Would you be interested in game lists by theme / rating / other criteria?

      By theme, and by rating.

      • Thanks. To update everyone – I have some days off in a couple weeks, I will finalize the lists then.

  5. Porkbelly Porkbelly

    Congratulation! Yes, I’m also a big fan of working against lists, and chronological would be my preference for a general path forward.

    If you haven’t already, I’d suggest taking a look at the comprehensive strategy game lists M. Evan Brooks maintained for about two decades (in CGW and later online). A good reference for extracting sub-genres, scales, and historical period for all kinds of strategy games, and sorted in various different way. His website disappeared around 2003 but all is archived.

    I’m not too particular about what direction or depth you go into with individual blog posts but I think it is worthwhile to capture whatever trivia you might come across, especially if it comes from the horse’s mouth.

    I do find the “OBSOLETE” red stamp a little harsh given the hardware of the time but we discussed that already. M. Evan Brooks was no less forgiving back in the day. It does help to make the good points stand out. Personally, I’m very interested in design intent, inspirations, aspirations and development skills that push the envelope in some way. Even some of the train wrecks can be fascinating.

    • Given your, Ahab and mpx’s comments, I will try to clean up and give access to the google sheet. There are already cells for era (WW2, Ancient), area (Pacific, Greece, …) and scale (tactical, strategic). I will also create a page ordering the game by preference, including within categories.

      I am sometimes using Evan Brooks “list of wargames”, as he published them in Computer Gaming World starting in the 80s. There are some mistakes (different comments on Computer Air Combat and Wings of War even though it is exactly the same game) but it is the most comprehensive list available ; I sometimes use it in my contemporary reviews.

      My initial rating used numerical values, but all the games had very low ratings since I needed “progression space”, and well in some categories (UI, immersion), it was impossible to have a good grade in the early 80s. That’s why I switched to “obsolete” (with different degrees : Totally obsolete / Flawed and obsolete / obsolete / well-designed and obsolete). I think it is fairer, not insulting at all (those games are 40 years old, of course most of them are obsolete). A well-designed but obsolete game was probably outstanding back them.

  6. Dayyalu Dayyalu

    I’ll be the weird one here, but I’ve enjoyed the forum even more than the articles. Being a former denizen of LP forums, the chance of resurrecting age-old games and to play them with motivated people is…. awesome.

  7. Argyraspide Argyraspide

    My one request would probably go contrary to your plans.
    I find the slow, strict, chronological trudge through thousands of games boring.

    I would much rather see you jump back and forth between the decades, with maybe some thematic connection, like “Old Napoleonic Game” followed by “More Recent Napoleonic Game”, or “First Game by X”, then “Last Game by X”.
    When the games look similar post after post, they sort of blend together, which makes them less appealing.

    • Indeed, I prefer to go chronologically – I would find doing a bunch of Napoleonic in a row a boring trudge myself :).

      • Argyraspide Argyraspide

        Well I didn’t say you had to play a bunch of similar games in a row. Just two, maybe.
        And you are actually more likely to play similar games the way you’re doing it. Nothing feels more like a 1983 strategy game than another 1983 strategy game.
        There’s also the issue that you’ll probably never reach anything modern, which is a shame.

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